Remote Browsers vs RBI

People confuse the difference between remote browsers and RBI enough for me to want to write an article about it.

Remote Browsers vs RBI
Unrelated image of Elon Musk

People confuse the difference between remote browsers and remote browser isolation enough for me to want to write an article about it, at the be fair it's a complicated subject for anyone who isn't an RBI industry insider.

When Gartner named 'remote browsing' as one of their top security technologies and started to recommend browser isolation as one of the most effective ways that an organization can reduce web-based cyberattacks, the browser isolation space started to heat up. However, because some are mixing the terms 'remote browser' and 'browser isolation' interchangeably, it's worth discussing the difference in these two models and explaining why and how they are different.

The difference between the two is that remote browser isolation (RBI) is a cybersecurity model which advocates the physical isolation of an internet user’s web browser (along with the associated cyber risks) away from their local machine. RBI is the high-level model which underpins remote browser platforms.

Remote browsers are essentially one way of deploying a remote browser isolation solution. From a user perspective, a remote browser is simply a browser that 'lives in the cloud' and this is more or less exactly what a remote browser is.

BUT, it's not the only RBI deployment model.

Here at WEBGAP for example we also have a native browser deployment model that lets our customers isolate their user's web browser traffic, but using their natively installed browsers instead of remote browsers. In this scenario, there are no remote browsers in the equation, because all of the native browser traffic is being safely isolated, so users have no need to log into a separate remote browser.

Browser isolation is a cybersecurity model underpinned by the principle of security through physical isolation. It is a model that enables its users to physically isolate themselves from malware, ransomware, and web-based cyber attacks by physically isolating their browsing activity. BUT, there are a number of different approaches to browser isolation and some RBI technologies are client-side solutions that do not deliver remote browsers.

Remote browsing is really remote browser isolation but seen from the perspective of a customer consuming a hosted browser isolation service. Remote browsing platforms are hosted on servers by a third-party remote browser provider and then delivered to the customer as a service. When browser isolation is delivered in this way, the users browse the internet using a 'remote browser' but the browser isolation technology and platform is managed by the provider.

Although WEBGAP has its own remote browsing platform, we do not think of our technology as a 'remote browser technology' because we develop the underlying browser isolation technology and see the bigger RBI picture. But many remote browser service providers do not have their own proprietary technology underpinning their platforms which is why they think of what they do as remote browsing instead of browser isolation, that's literally all they have.

WEBGAP offers a proprietary browser isolation technology that they can run on their infrastructure themselves OR a fully hosted and fully managed remote browser platform as a service. You can host our browser isolation technology yourself, or WEBGAP can host it for you and deliver remote browsers to your users.

Hopefully, you can now see the difference between browser isolation and remote browsers. If you have any more questions about either term or their differences, please get in touch.

The awesome image used in this article is part of a collage created by Selman Hoşgör.
Selman's playful collage conveys Silicon Valley’s iconic entrepreneurial culture, landscape and leaders.